Monday, October 22, 2018

A Heart of Sacrifice

Last weekend I spoke at a breakout session at our church’s women’s event, and I wanted to share just a small part of my talk for this week’s post because God put this message on my heart—and I hope it’ll challenge you like it’s challenged me.

My message was about giving, and what I wanted to get at was the idea that giving is more about our heart than it is about money. Money is just the means, the tool that gets talked about the most. But a heart of giving is really tied to a heart of sacrifice.

Remember Abraham’s story—when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac?

The story is in Genesis 22 (read the whole chapter here). The summary version is God says, hey, Abraham, take your son, your only son whom you love, and offer him to me as a burnt offering. And Abraham rose early the next morning to do it. He didn’t wait. He didn’t delay. He just got up and went. And he doesn’t just go—he makes preparation for the offering.

I’m sure most of you have heard this story’s ending, right? God sees Abraham’s obedience, his willingness to sacrifice his son—his only son—and so God provides a ram instead.

Abraham calls this place Jehovah Jirah—which we translate as the Lord who provides. The literal meaning here is the Lord who sees to it. I love that. God sees to it that Abraham is provided for—but only AFTER he was willing to sacrifice what he valued. 

What do you value most in this life? Now imagine that God asked you to give it up, to give away the most precious thing in your life. And not just give it up, but literally sacrifice it on the altar.

Was your most valuable thing a person? Your children or your spouse?

I can’t even comprehend how hard it would be to sacrifice my husband. I literally can’t imagine my life without him. And we don’t have children, but like Abraham, we have promises from God. Abraham waited 25 years for his promised son. We’ve only waited 7, and it feels like a lifetime sometimes. What if God asked me to sacrifice my baby that I’ve waited seven, eight, ten years for?

Abraham didn’t question God. None of it makes sense. This is his promised son we’re talking about. But he didn’t argue. He keeps going—and trusting. 

We read this story already knowing the outcome, but HE DID NOT KNOW THE OUTCOME, y’all. He thought he was about to kill his son. And he was willing to do it because it was what God had asked him to do.

This story is all about Abraham’s willingness to give up something he loved and valued as an act of worship and obedience.

A heart of giving is more about surrender than anything else. And it’s not really surrender or sacrifice unless it hurts a little, unless it tugs at you—you know what I mean? Like ouch, that’s hard to give up.

But here’s the blessing when we do—remember God’s words to Abraham? He promised to bless him, to multiply his offspring, to give them the land of their enemies, to bless the nations through his children. That’s a pretty massive promise.

God has been dealing with me on this message—are there places in my life, areas of value that I hold back, dreams I haven’t given Him?

If he asked me to sacrifice my greatest desire, would I do be willing?

What about you, friends? Is there anything you are holding back? Anything closed fisted?

I pray we would open our heart, be generous, and be willing to say yes.

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